MSUToday
Published: Aug. 25, 2017

Michigan residents bullish on economy, but not on Trump

Contact(s): Charles Ballard Department of Economics office: (517) 353-2961 ballard@msu.edu, Cynthia Kyle IPPSR office: (517) 353-1731 kylec@msu.edu

Consumer confidence in Michigan rose to its highest level in 15 years, even as Donald Trump’s approval ratings in the state were the lowest of any incoming president in the history of Michigan State University’s State of the State Survey.

The latest survey, conducted between April 19 and July 30, showed that 62 percent of those responding called their current finances good or excellent – the best numbers since 2002, said Charles Ballard, survey director and MSU economics professor.

But only 9 percent of respondents called Trump’s job performance excellent and 19 rated his performance as good. That overall favorable rating of 28 percent is the lowest the survey has recorded for a president at the beginning of his term, Ballard said. George W. Bush’s approval stood at 41 percent when he took office in 2001 and Barack Obama scored 71 percent favorable when he took office in 2009.

“Donald Trump scored a narrow victory in Michigan in last November’s election, but that doesn’t appear to have translated into lasting strong public approval,” Ballard said of the Republican president.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s ratings improved slightly from the previous survey, but his favorable ratings remained below 30 percent, at 29.3 percent.

“Snyder’s favorable ratings plummeted to about 25 percent in the wake of the Flint water crisis and they have not yet fully recovered,” Ballard said. For most of his time in office, the Republican governor’s favorable ratings were recorded at 34 percent or higher.

In comparison, Republican Gov. John Engler’s approval ratings were in the high 40s and low 50s in the late 1990s. The recession of 2001 took a toll, and Engler’s approval ratings fell to a low of 34 percent in the fall of 2002, in the last survey before he left office.

Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s numbers fell fairly steadily – from a high of 58 percent in 2003, during her first year as governor, to a low of 18 percent in the last survey before she left office in 2010.

The current survey’s margin of error was 3.17 percent.

The survey has been conducted since 1994 by the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research’s Office for Survey Research at MSU.

Read more about the current survey here.

Consumer confidence in Michigan was at a 15-year high even though President Trump's approval ratings were the lowest recorded for an incoming president, according to the latest State of the State Survey directed by Charles Ballard, economist at Michigan State University.

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